An Australian man who has spent more than $20,000 funding scam artists he thought were in love with him now has plans to propose to his girlfriend in the Philippines, whom he believes is the real thing.
Ben Ivey, a 32-year-old Sydney resident, said he has been fooled by “women” online three times in the past three years, according to the Daily Mail.
“I was heartbroken after every one ended,” he said. “I thought what the scammers were telling me was the truth. I was blinded by my love for them.”
Ivey’s series of heartbreaks began in January 2011 when he joined a site called benaughty.com and met a user named Michele Raymond. At the time, he had just gotten out of a relationship and had tried unsuccessfully tried to woo a woman at his local church.
“I think the reason why I got scammed three times was because of my loneliness and I just wanted to have someone to love and I was prepared to do what I could to make the women happy,” he said.
With Raymond, Ivey said he believed her when she told him her handbag was stolen while she was on the way to visit him, so he sent her close to $2,000. Seventeen days later, he realized he was the victim of a scam.
It took just a few months before Ivey met another person online named Brenda Campbell. The two found each other on Facebook and she told him that she had to fly with her dog. Ivey sent Campbell about $11,400, but then contacted police and shut down his accounts when he realized what was happening.
“Every time the scammer asked me for money I told them about the previous scammer and how upset I was by that,” he said. “But they assured me it wouldn't happen again. I believed every time this would come true, but it didn't.”
Then in 2012, Ivey was scammed again on Craigslist after a user called Annie said that she wanted to marry him but needed him to cover some legal fees first. He sent her more than $8,000 from his bank.
“Like all of the previous scams, I kept this one hidden from my parents and friends for the fear of rejection and hurt,” he said.
To prevent himself from losing any more money, Ivey forfeited control of his bank accounts to his parents later that year.
Now, Ivey thinks he has found a partner online again – a woman named Thei – but this time he has skyped her and met her family online for added security.
The couple met through a dating app about a year ago, and Ivey said he plans to propose to Thei in the near future, as soon as he gets the money to travel to the Philippines.
Source: Daily Mail